Differentiates between sounds that are the same and different (e.g., environmental sounds, animal sounds, phonemes).
The child develops awareness that language can be broken in words, syllables, and smaller units of sounds (phonemes).
Young children learn to discriminate between the similarities and differences in spoken language. Such awareness is the foundation of young children’s abilities to hear and discriminate different sounds in words (phonological awareness). Research indicates how quickly and how easily children learn to read often depends on how much phonological awareness they have. Children’s abilities to play with or manipulate the smallest units of speech (phonemes) are demonstrated in a variety of ways, including using rhymes, alliteration, and experimenting with beginning and ending sounds. Phonological awareness and phonemic awareness are the foundations that enable preschool children to later match sounds to their letters (phonics). Phonological awareness can be taught in the dark as it requires just listening for and manipulating sounds.